Written by Jeff McCutcheon
Big thanks to the Kitsilano girls for fighting their way through the snow to the North Shore. Outside it's cold and snowy, inside the Handsworth gym the atmosphere is warm and energetic. With both teams coming off tough losses yesterday, Handsworth to Charles Best and Kitsilano to Argyle, both are looking to bounce back with big games here!
Kitsilano Coach Bryan Burtchett has his girls playing a tough zone defence which resulted in a shot clock violation on the opening possession. As a preview of things to come it's clear Handsworth is going to have to work hard for every point. At the other end of the court the Blue Demons were fighting and clawing to get through Handsworth's high intensity full court pressing defence. Coach Kevin McComb is rotating his Royals through very quickly to keep up the energy and the pace. Five minutes into the game Handsworth looked to have hit its stride with McComb and Strigl nailing back to back 3 pointers. With Kitsilano winning the battle in the post they have managed 3 baskets and things are all tied up 6-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Heading into the second it was obvious this game is going to be very tight. It was going to be a matter of whether the Blue Demons could keep up with the quick high intensity perimeter game of the Royals and if the Royals could find an answer for Kitsilano's strong interior presence. Whoever was able to do this should come out on top. Blue Demons Dina Strujic opened the second quarter on a roll hitting two back to back 3 pointers. Handsworth executed a couple of brilliant set plays to stay right in the game. With 3.5 seconds left in the half the Blue Demons called a timeout and drew up a quick play. Coming off a screen Strujic was able to put up a three point attempt. Although the shot was missed she was fouled giving her 3 shots from the line. She was able to make 2 of them giving the Blue Demons a 21-20 lead at the half. It's clear Coach Burtchett knows exactly how valuable every point is going to be this game. The use of the time out and not just giving up on 3.5 seconds could make the difference in this one!
After the half the chess match continued with both teams trying to solve the other's strong stingy defence. Neither team was able to get much going early with both teams managing just a couple of points in the first 5 minutes. Handsworth's Samantha Magelund ended the drought scoring 10 points herself in under two minutes. This run is exactly what Handsworth needed and could be the true difference maker in this game. Thanks to Magelund and her teammates the Royals were up 33-25 at the end of the third.
It would take a huge quarter from the Blue Demons to come back in this one given the way the Royals defence has been playing. If they were able to get on a roll early though we would be in for a close one! Early on the Royals refuse to take their foot off the gas on both sides of the ball. The question was whether Handsworth was going to be able to keep up their pace and intensity for all four quarters and they answered that question with a resounding yes. Their efforts caused turnovers and fouls all over the place and created a 14 point lead with 4 minutes left. But Kitsilano refused to give up battling right down to the last second but unfortunately they were unable to break through Coach McComb's intense defence. This one finished 48-30 giving Handsworth the win over Kits.
It's rare when two minutes of a game determines the entire outcome but that was exactly the case in this one. The run by Samantha Magelund halfway through the third quarter was the difference maker. Handsworth fed of this energy and Kitsilano was never able to get their way back in it. Kudos to both teams on a very hard fought game and thanks again to the Blue Demons for enduring the snow and making their way over to the North Shore. Good Luck in the future games and enjoy the tournament!
Kits leading scorer: #13 Dina Strujic 12 points
Handsworth leading scorer: #14 Samantha Magelund 12 points
Player of the game: Hansworth #14 Samantha Magelund